Bishop Thomas J. Tobin via Rhode Island Catholic.
It seems that there’s been a resurgence of atheism recently, across the nation, and certainly here in Rhode Island. The epicenter of this godless movement, at least for the moment, is in Cranston, Rhode Island, where a fierce battle over a public high school prayer banner has pitted believers against non-believers.
With that backdrop I’ve been thinking about atheism recently, and the toll it takes on the human person, and my reflections are well-summarized in the quotation, from an anonymous source, referenced above: “Atheism is the death of hope, the suicide of the soul.”
In the title I refer to an “everyday atheist,” for here I’m thinking not so much about philosophers or scientists who adopt atheism as a hypothetical construct, although they too have a problem explaining the ultimate mysteries of life. But I’m thinking more about the person who claims to be an atheist and then tries to live without any reference to God. This is the “practical and existential atheism” which Blessed John Paul II described so well in his writings.
The life of the everyday atheist must indeed be a very sad, sterile and hopeless experience.
If you don’t believe in God, how do you explain the reason for your existence? After all, you can’t refer to a Creator, or a divine plan. If you’re not created in the image and likeness of God, as the Bible tells us, from what source do you derive your human dignity? Or are you nothing more than an accident of arbitrary biological forces? Does your life have any more value or meaning than other living creatures – even the simplest life forms that crawl in the mud or swim in the seas?
He goes on with some questions for atheists as to what flows from their philosophy.
I covered the subject myself with an article on Atheism and Joy.